RASV has mirrored the progress and development of Victoria from the early days of settlement to the present. In times of adversity—droughts, floods, depressions and wars— RASV has drawn extra strength and support for its activities from all sections of the community, and especially from rural industries.
From the beginning, competitions of skill and enterprise have been a major part of RASV. The old competitions of ploughing, sheaf tossing, shearing and rough-riding are gone, but competitions such as wood-chop and art, craft and cookery have survived for all to enjoy. Livestock judging, of course, has always been a staple of the Royal Melbourne Show.
The amusements and sideshows are part of the society’s heritage, and the ‘showmen’ have been a vital part of the Show ever since the first ploughing match in 1848. Their role, like that of the Society, has changed considerably over the years. The advent of television in 1956 undoubtedly was the main reason for the decline in ‘tent shows’, and the last appearance of these was in 1971 when the Jimmy Sharman boxing troupe closed up after the Show of that year. From that time on the ‘showies’ have concentrated on rides and games.
RASV has become synonymous with such great competitions as Australia’s premiere equestrienne event, the Garryowen Trophy, and the coveted Jimmy Watson Wine Memorial Trophy. RASV’s competitions are the benchmark for many of the state’s agricultural and culinary pursuits, and they continue to attract the best of the best.
The RASV Showgrounds have been the site of many significant activities over the decades, including Victoria's largest annual community event, the Royal Melbourne Show.
Heritage provides any organisation with an enhanced sense of purpose through knowledge of its achievements, and RASV is very proud of its heritage.